The Wine Song in Classical Arabic Poetry: Abu Nuwas and the Literary Tradition

By Philip F. Kennedy | Go to book overview

APPENDIX B

Texts and Translations

ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

Tu'ʽātibu-ʽalā šurbi ibāḥī

She berates me for taking a morning drink, and extending a nocturnal bout until the crack of dawn,

Not knowing as yet that I am munificent and love those amongst my drinking companions that are like myself.

I often recall the fair, noble friends--cheerful and elegant chieftains--

Whose wary and emaciated mounts I have led at a time when the winds were still,

When our shadows fell upon the straps of our sandals as a feather fits snugly into the fold of a wing--

Towards the taverns of wine amongst vineyards with over-arching trellises that inclined to one side.

Its master came hurriedly towards us, congratulating us on our safe and felicitous [arrival].

I said [to him], "Wine!""Of course," he said, "I give it generously to those of noble lineage."

So he fetched it, whilst it moved like rain-water, and he sang a suggestive song:

"Will you recover or can your heart not recover on the evening when your companions are ready to depart?".

So I spent the night amongst his taverns like a groom with two virgins: one water, the other wine,

Whilst a gentle fawn passed around the cup; he had delightful flanks and a delicate waist.

He enquired, "Will you set off in the morning"; to which our reply: "How can we bear to leave [having come to know you]?"

He then moved [amongst us] with stealth and made us drunk; then we slept until morning's cockerel was about to crow

When I got up and made for him, upright but trailing my garments, and prepared my ram for butting

And when I had fixed my spear inside of him, he awoke as an injured man awakens from his wounds.

-262-

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